WTB Raddler Tires: Getting Rolling – by Guitar Ted
WTB was at the forefront of gravel tire development and introduced the first tubeless ready gravel tire as well, (Nano 40), so they have had a big influence on what we as gravel riders ride on. They haven’t rested on their laurels either, and the latest gravel tire from WTB is a perfect example of that non-stop commitment to developing a better tire.
This new effort has resulted in a tire dubbed the Raddler. WTB calls it the “more aggressive sibling to the Riddler“, a ‘more rad’ version of that tire, if you will. We at Riding Gravel are well acquainted with the Riddler and have used it for many of our rides. In fact, the 700 X 45mm Riddler is perhaps MG’s favorite front tire. If you are as familiar with the Riddler as we are, then the family resemblance here is easy to pick up on.
What It Is: WTB says the Raddler is a gravel tire with the soul of an mountain bike tire. The Raddler certainly looks the part with its deeper tread pattern and blocky side lugs. The smaller centralized blocks are packed pretty tightly together which should lend a faster ride. The outer side knobs are arranged in such a way that lateral stability and cornering should feature as prominent traits.
WTB offers this new tire in 700c sizes only in both a skin wall and black wall 40mm or 44mm width. The casing is the TCS Light with 60TPI carcass and an Aramid fiber, tubeless ready, foldable bead. The rubber compound is WTB’s Dual DNA. Claimed weights are 505 grams for the black wall 40mm, 512 for the skin wall 40, 526 grams for the 44mm black wall, and finally, 514 grams or the 44mm skin wall. All versions of the Raddler follow WTB’s uniform pricing structure and will cost $59.96 USD.
First Impressions: Ah! That new tire smell! I never get used to that. Then I noticed the tread pattern was a bit more aggressive. This should play well with late Winter/transition season riding here in the Mid-West. The grip level looks to be on par with the Venture, which I fared well with this time last year.
We received the 44mm skin wall version and the 40mm black wall version. Curiously, the tread cap appears to be exactly the same on both tires. A 44mm tire might suggest bigger knobs, or a wider tread cap than a 40mm, but this looks not to be the case. Only the carcass looked wider with the 44mm versus the 40mm tire. Interesting.
Weighed on my scales I observed the weights as follows: 700 X 40mm black wall: 531/532 gm, 700 X 44mm skin wall: 504/511 gm. That black wall 40mm weight was a bit heavier than advertised, but the skin wall 44mm was closer to the claimed weight. Next up was mounting and tubeless set up.
Tubeless Set Up: The WTB TCS stuff I’ve used since they have developed the system has been really good. This time was no exception. The Raddler 44mm tires were up first, and I put these on the Irwin Wheels Aon GX 35 Carbon hoops. The tires had to be levered on, but it wasn’t difficult, and I pumped them up with a Silca floor pump with the valve cores in. I should mention that I used the Muc-Off No Puncture Hassle Protection Sealant in these tires as well. The tires popped on and I had no issues at all with initial set up.
Immediately after mounting the tires measured 43.33mm wide, so with a little time to stretch out, these should easily be 44mm+ in width, just as advertised. Due to the fact that I received these tires the day before the lifting of the media embargo, I ran out of time to get the 40mm tires set up. I’ll report on that in the next part of this review. Also, Grannygear has a set of each width of the Raddlers in SoCal, so we shall be getting his take on things as well.
Note: WTB sent over the Raddler tires to RidingGravel.com to test and review at no charge. We were not paid, nor bribed, for this review and we strive to give our honest thoughts and views throughout.